If, like me, you're a fan of Jim Henson films – I'm talking Labyrinth / Dark Crystal specifically here, then you're sure to love this set of quirky characters by Shamona Stokes.
A Jersey-based ceramics sculptor, Stokes makes creatures inspired by "the deep mind and the dream state". The results are imaginary friends, nature's spirits and shadow-beasts that reside in the invented land of “Hypnos”.
Stokes explains: "Last year, I began meditating and exploring my subconscious through modalities like dream analysis, floating (sensory deprivation tank immersion), and self-hypnosis. This completely rewired my brain and inspired me to leave my freelance design career behind and to explore ceramics full-time. It’s a mix of shamanism, Jim Henson, and fantasy land."
The artist began drawing when she was just six years old, creating murals of Alice in Wonderland in her childhood kitchen. She always loved to daydream and explore the woods on the dead end street where she grew up in Piscataway, NJ.
In 2002, she graduated with honours from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn with a BFA in Illustration. At art school, she explored character design and mixed media primarily in 2D, but the three-dimensional world of sculpture always intrigued her.
Life took its twists and turns and Shamona pursued a successful career as a graphic designer and art director in Manhattan for 15 years, freelancing at agencies big and small. During this time she released a children’s book app, A Dark & Dismal Flower, with her animator husband. In 2009, she took a four-month hiatus to explore India and came back with notebooks full of ideas, which would later become the seed for her next creative chapter.
We're big fans. Check out Shamona's brand new website here.